Long-winded campaigns come to an end at Kodak Theater
Oscar’s red carpet is literally the last mile of an arduous trek that seems to get a little longer every year. But who’s complaining?
Not Armie Hammer, one of the social butterflies of “The Social Network,” who has enthusiastically appeared at just about every event, awards fete, reception and photo op that Sony Pictures could muster.
“We’ve been doing this since September. I’m ready for it to be over,” Hammer said as he made the first of many stops on his way into the Kodak Theater. “But for this to be the culmination of it, it’s also kind of sad.”
And yet, for a rising thesp, life definitely goes on. He’s spent the past few weeks lensing Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar Hoover biopic starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
“I spent all day Thursday shooting a machine gun,” Hammer said gleefully. “It was great.”
John Lasseter, who just might be the warmest, most sincere person in showbiz, and his wife Nancy were feeling a little sentimental as they walked into the Kodak.
Nancy recalled the premiere of “Toy Story” in November 1995 across the street at the El Capitan Theater when their sons were very young. “They were all in tiny suits,” Nancy recalled, squeezing John’s hand.
Now three of their five boys are in college — a transition that was depicted with great heart in “Toy Story 3.”
“The experience of dropping our sons off at college was so emotional — it surprised us,” John said. “That was very much a feeling we wanted to get in the film.”
As the scene on the carpet started to hum around 3 p.m., some early arrivers were very realistic about their chances of getting camera and ink time with the journos that line the southern end of the processional.
A publicist asked the media in line if anyone wanted to speak with Stephan Trojansky, nommed for VFX for “Hereafter.”
Trojansky’s date walked a few paces behind saying “Just computer nerds…”
Body glitter and goosebumps were the fashion accessories for many of the women on the red carpet, as they braved the cold snap in sleeveless gowns.
Melissa Leo has a thing for symbolism. To accent her glittery Oscar gown, she donned a distinctive spider necklace made by her friend, actress and jewelry designer Katherine Wallach.
“There is something about the web of a spider and the network that is necessary to make movies,” Leo explained. “I also grew up on something of a commune, and to me family is a network, like a spider’s web.”
Making a statement via lapel pin is still very much in vogue.
Mark Ruffalo and a few others donned waterdrop-shaped blue lapel pins to represent efforts to fight for clean water in the face of modern-day energy extraction techniques, which can contaminate nearby water supplies. (The controversy over what’s known as “fracking” for natural gas was the subject of the nommed feature docu “Gasland.”)
Ruffalo recently co-founded Waterdefense.org with other activists, and said he was motivated “because I live smack dab in the middle of gasland in upstate New York.” He found himself “mortified by the conditions people are living in with contaminated wells, and they can’t drink water out of their faucets.”
Meanwhile, “Fighter” thesp Jack McGee offered a very personal tribute to Glenn Adams, the Los Angeles firefighter who died Feb. 16 battling a house fire in the Hollywood hills. McGee, who was previously a firefighter in Gotham for 10 years, put a black ribbon across his old NYFD badge, which he wore on his lapel.
“This is all wonderful and great,” he said, gesturing at the expanse of the carpet, “but this is a reminder of real life.”
Sunday was Oscars No. 23 for Fox Filmed Entertainment topper Tom Rothman. He’s only missed one ceremony in that run, and that was for his honeymoon.
“Prenuptial agreement,” explained his wife, thesp-author Jessica Harper.
Rothman said this year’s best pic contenders were “a great sign of the diversity of terrific movies that were out this year. It’s a great honor for our studio to have two nominees.”
Jeff Bridges was also feeling the love of family as he made his way down the carpet with his wife, Susan, three daughters — Hayley and Jessie, Isabelle (with husband Brandon Boesch) — and granddaughter Grace, who is in utero in Isabelle.
If he was feeling the pressure of being back in the nominees circle after winning last year, Bridges wasn’t showing it.
Asked what his iconic Dude character (from “The Big Lebowski”) would make of the crazy Oscar scene, Bridges paused, looked around, and replied: “Far out, man.”
No one should have been surprised if Jennifer Lawrence was craving linguine after the show. Lawrence revealed to inquiring minds on the red carpet that her tradition for years on Oscar night has been to get together with her best friend Laura to watch the show while having a “linguine party.” For a split second, as she was pulled to and fro by handlers, Lawrence looked like she might really be missing that linguine party.
Hugh Jackman sheared a big hunk of facial hair between Friday night, when he attended WME’s pre-Oscar party, and Sunday, when he leisurely strolled the red carpet.
He had been growing it out for his next role in “The Wolverine,” but helmer Darren Aronofsky took pity on Jackman as his Oscar presenter appearance approached.
“Darren said, ‘It’s OK, you can shave it,’?” Jackman said.
John Hawkes, nommed for “Winter’s Bone,” was fairly awestruck to have made it all the way to the pinnacle of award season with an indie movie that might just as easily have never made much of a splash.
But as sweet as Sunday was for him, it still wasn’t as moving to him as the feeling at the screening of the pic at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
“That was the peak experience for me. That’s when I knew I was part of something that was amazing,” he said.
The life of a busy film composer… Hans Zimmer, nommed for “Inception,” has no less than three high-profile projects to keep him busy this year: “Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides,” “Kung Fu Panda” and of course, reuniting with “Inception” helmer Christopher Nolan on “The Dark Knight Rises.”
“Christopher Nolan — what can I say?” Zimmer said. “I’m happy to be part of anything he does.”
On the heels of Kathryn Bigelow’s historic win in the helmer category last year for “The Hurt Locker,” the flag for femme helmers was flown this year by Susanne Bier, in the foreign film category, and Lucy Walker, for docu feature “Waste Land.”
The docu tells the story of artist Vik Muniz, who works with Brazil’s poor to create artworks made out of items plucked from trash dumps.
“To come from the largest landfill in the world to the Oscar red carpet is a fairy tale,” Walker said, adding that she hopes her nom will “inspire more women in girls to go tell stories that inspire them.”
Bier was a little giddy as she made her way into the Kodak. “It’s super, super exciting,” the Danish helmer said. “It’s something you could do a million times and never get used to.”
Tom Hooper admitted to having been nervous in the middle of the night before about the outcome on Sunday (as it turned out, he needn’t have worried). But then “The King’s Speech” helmer switched on the pragmatic side of his brain.
“It’s not a sporting event,” he told himself. “I have to sit in a chair, maybe give a speech.”
Speaking as the prexy of the Directors Guild of America, Taylor Hackford noted that there was an important shift demonstrated by Oscar’s five helmer nominees this year.
“This year there’s a sense of a different generation entering the field,” a transition Hackford wholeheartedly endorsed. “I think they all did a brilliant job.”